Rwanda is blessed with ideal coffee growing conditions that include high altitude, regular rainfall, volcanic soils with good organic structure and an abundance of Bourbon. The vast majority of Rwandan coffee is produced by smallholders of which there are thought to be around half a million with parcels of land often not much larger than just one hectare per family. Coffee is grown in most parts of the country, with particularly large concentrations along Lake Kivu and in the southern province. Rwandan smallholders organise themselves into cooperatives and share the services of centralised wet-mills – or washing stations as they are known locally. Flowering takes place between September and October and the harvest runs from March to July, with shipments starting in August through December.
Mutovu was established in 2012 in the Nyamasheke area of Western Rwanda. It is ideally located, benefitting from rich soils and easy access to many small farms in the area, ranging in altitudes between 1800 and 1950 meters. Mutovu is a small cooperative of 9 farmers, each with between 1,500 - 5,000 coffee trees. Each farmer supplies their own cherries to the station, in addition to collecting cherries from their neighbours' farms. Its location and ownership structure has made it a great success and despite 2012 being its first season of full production, it was able to produce 20 tons of parchment. Their coffees consistently cup very well, and each year the co-op continue to make improvements at the mill. For example, in 2015, they reinvested to upgraded milling equipment, new drying beds and a brand new warehouse to better store their parchment coffee.